...busting up my brains for the words

Tuesday, April 05, 2005

First Avenue Bowie Tribute

I'm reprinting my review of last night's show from the BowieNet Message Board.

Last night was the Rebel, Rebel Rock for Pussy Bowie Tribute at Minneapolis' First Avenue nightclub!

Very much like last year's initial Bowie tribute and benefit for the St. Paul cat shelter, this was a rollicking good time. The benefit assembled some of the local scene's best rock players to form a house band tentatively called Kitty Stardust. Heh heh. Before the music started the house projected plenty of Bowie videos up on the screens. Unfortunately, the dj working the booth last night was not so hip as last year's, as he played a bunch of non-Bowie stuff over the house speakers whilst the videos played silently. That was unfortunate. I remember last year, the dj got things started on the right foot by spinning all sorts of Bowie-scene numbers such as Iggy, T-Rex, the VUs, et al.
If I remember accurately, the first number the band played was Suffragette City. Local Twin Cities stalwart frontman Curtis A was on the mic for the kick off numbers. The band lost no time moving on to Rebel, Rebel. The modus operandi was simple. The microphone was traded off to a wide range of local singers, male and female. Throughout the evening we would be treated to Ziggy Stardust, Sorrow, Fame, All The Young Dudes, Wild Is The Wind, Diamond Dogs, Modern Love, Let's Dance, Under Pressure, Space Oddity, Hold On To Yourself, Sound And Vision, TVC15, The Jean Genie, Ashes To Ashes, Fashion and others.
I would say that Little Wonder was the most challanging number to recreate for the obvious programming requirements. They pulled it off. Like last year's show, the band took liberties in putting up a lead female vocalist to sing David's songs. This is an interesting strength as you can well imagine when a woman sings Queen Bitch with quite a bit or confidence and irony. Nicely done. "Oh God, I could do better than that! You betcha." The instruments on stage were plenty. One baritone sax player and at least three backing vocalists, sometimes more. The guitarists had their chops down, obviously having studied Ronno's and Carlos's styles and techniques. Some numbers were uncannily perfect. Theophania and I marveled at how we'd thought we could hear Mr. Bowie's voice at times. The grande finale was fittingly done with just about everyone from the evening's offerings up there belting out Young Americans.

Despite the thread in Meetups only Theophania, Shrinkrapp and I made it down there from BNet. When the band was playing Sorrow, Shrinkrapp asked me if I could remember who'd penned it. I did my research when I got home. It was originally recorded by The Mercys, as credited by David on the Pinups album. The song was written by Bob Feldman/Jerry Goldstein/Richard Gottehrer.
Through the course of the evening as one great song after another is performed, it dawns on the listener that this David Bowie chap is quite a talented songwriter. It was fun to join up with some of my fellow BowieNet Community members and exchange stories and opinions and maybe a wee bit of gossip. For instance, I noted that over on Teenage Wildlife website there is a rumor posted that David and Carlos have been seen in the studio recently.

Really? I hope it's true. They'll prolly come up with some super stuff.

I was surprised to learn that smoking was banned in the big room at First Avenue. I had thought that because this room took the overwhelming portion of its business from alcohol and not food, smoking would be allowed. Not so in Minneapolis, my friends explained. Saint Paul, yes.
That fact would go a long way toward explaining why the room was noticibly thinner than last year's event. While it was great for me to be free of nasty and harmful second hand smoke, it's unfortunate that the business was hurt. We can all be glad, however, that everyone in the room was protected from unwanted risks to lung cancer to say nothing of dry cleaning costs.
My friend Theophania disagrees however. She's a smoker and was upset that she was denied her freedoms to inject harmful carcinogens into her body and those around her.


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